Monday, April 28, 2014

BarCamp Buffalo April 26, 2014

Bar Camp Buffalo - is back for it's 7th version!!

The Foundry, 298 Northampton Street, Buffalo New York

This time held at the Foundry -

It started around 8:00 a.m. and ran until around 3:30 p.m. My guess is that we had around 100 people show up. They had Lloyds taco's for breakfast and lunch, which was great! As you can see there were a myriad of topics covered. I did one on Astronomy 101, which is one of my favorite passions and I had about 25 people in my session, which made me feel great!

Here is my laptop getting setup for my presentation! Lots of cool places and companies represented here!

Here I am doing my talk with my smart scope (Meade ETX-125) behind me!

There are plenty more pictures of the event on the facebook page for Bar Camp -

The event was well run, went smooth and when I got there, I helped setup screens and projectors to make sure all 4 rooms were ready for all the presenters! I think it was a day full of learning, helping and growing, and everyone I spoke with had a great time! We all got T-shirts and stickers and I am looking forward to the next BarCamp Buffalo!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lunar Eclipse - Blood Moon - Night of April 14-15

Tonight's Full Lunar Eclipse is showing favorably for almost all of North America including Buffalo!

But based on todays forecast it looks like we will be very cloudy and that it begins very late at night.The moon enters Earth's shadow around 2:00 a.m. and ends after 4:00 a.m. The full eclipse is around 3:00 a.m.


This is what it would look like through a 3 hour span.

The blood red moon! Caused by our own atmosphere coloring the moon with the Earth's glow.

And of course the science behind why we have Lunar Eclipse's  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Night pics of the Orion Constellation and Nebula!

These are my first shots using a Canon T3i with a 18-55mm lens, and between 10 and 20 second exposures using a cable release to keep the shutter open. I had to switch between AF and MF to get the right types of shots and I think for my first try this went very well.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

End of Windows XP Support from Microsoft Today 4/8/2014

Today, after 12 years and 7 months, Microsoft's most beloved Operating System, Windows XP, has come to a close. This was my favorite by far, and I can go back to sometime in 2002 when XP came out and how unhappy I was with it. Why, you ask? Well I just mastered Windows 2000 and Server 2000 and along comes this Windows 98 looking desktop OS, that was different! Why should I learn another OS when I was working as an I.T. Professional in business environments. Well fast forward to many years later and this OS has done many businesses great deals, and awesome workloads and unparalleled power for very little money. I am sad to see it end for this awesome workhorse of an Operating System.

I have been asked by many, what do I do now? Upgrade the OS on my existing hardware and over XP? Buy a new one? Just keep going on XP? Well for one, you could just go get a new one with Windows 8.1 which is a good OS and I have been running it for over a year. You could find Windows 7 Upgrade software on sites like NewEgg and Amazon and upgrade your old XP to Windows 7 which is much closer to XP than Windows 8. Lastly, you could keep running Windows XP for a time, but as soon as a major zero day hole is found or anything that could compromise your network at work, you need to move off of XP. Closed networks like schools can run XP forever if they like as they never touch the internet. For the most part, you need to start moving forward in terms of technology and security and moving on from XP is not a bad thing, its a new thing and you should try to embrace new technology, especially if its tried and tested now. Either way good luck!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

University of Buffalo's Hackathon April 2014

My weekend spent at Hackathon April 5-6, 2014

It all started around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday April 5th and continued until around 5:15 p.m. Sunday April 6th. A 24+ hour marathon of creating something out of nothing!

I have a breakdown of the 14 teams below so look for Day 2. I was with two InfoTech Board members, David Bachowski and Steven Raines. We were sponsors of the event and I was lucky to be able to hang out with two true techies of the business, along with sponsors like GradFly, Bloomberg, Synacor, Facebook, SoftTrek, Advance 2000 and UB Computer Science and Engineering

So Nick DiRienzo kicked it all off, thanking all the sponsors and welcomed the teams and individuals. And Joe Peacock of GradFly opened it up by saying, you can make anything!

There were 14 teams, and about 75 active participants.

Out in the hallways is where all the hacking and eating happened!

Steve and I manned the booth for the first half of the day, while David jumped in later! (Sorry no picture of David!)

During the event, Steve and I took off to hand flyers about InfoTech's upcoming events to spread the word! It was a great start!

End of Day 1

Day Two - Demos and Judging

The Demos' began around 2:15 p.m. with each team getting 5 minutes to show the judges and other teams what they made. I briefly describe each below.

Get Flappy- 

Java script game that allows people to walk up to a display and play together or spectate on mobile devices and laptops.Pervasive computing. It's a neat concept they want to trial at the Student Union. 3rd place

Hyde - A rendering engine wrote in C / X11 raw.
Demo program GUI elements. It's just a button. It was a test more than something that could be used.(Won most technically challenging)

Time well spent- edits a constant 24 hour clock of what a person has done for 24 hours. Time tracking software. I like this one a lot! Because it showed you how famous people worked during their days and in the future you could compete with friends and co-workers.

Monorail madness - a game,  a cat game that Nick my son would love. Cat on a rail fighting off evil Ninja cats and eating hamburgers to save CATURDAY!!!!! It was a better game than some of the ones I have downloaded over the years! (Sorry for bad photos)

Hack Locator - find all Hackathons by entering email and location. So when a Hackathon is registered on in your area then you will be notified. Python and Jango are back end. Basically an autonotifier of local registered HackerLeague Announcments.

Turn Down for Death Cube - custom game engine. A cube that continues to randomly changes and where the character teleports from room to room, sometimes to die in a trap based in the room. Very basic form but more to come. Written in Java. Based on the movie the Cube.

Hackathon(no name) - news, articles and info pulled into a simple app. Similar to Zite. It was working well and used Facebook to integrate and track your types of news items.

Awesome Guitar (that we couldn't get to work) - make a guitar with an LED in every position so that would light to a song and teach you how and where to put your fingers. A program was built to help the guitar be self tuning. Also an app to record your jams that would also allow you to upload it for everyone to use. 

Univfeed - web app, build a campus community, delivers notices via email, desktop, tablet and mobile. Has a calendar app, anyone can post. Great mobile version, searches all notices easily. NoJS back end, bootstrap in front end, res calls from mobile devices. From St.Bonaventure. 

DeepSpellCheck - for tumblr users. Does an auto spell check and then helps you see the errors that can be formatted into an HTML file to be posted anywhere. Expanded to grammar and more sites. A great example is using the app to search all of Facebook or Twitter to find words you may be looking for.

Agnu SecureShelf - a small bookshelf with alarm system. It will notify the user when someone takes a book and you will get an email, or text. It also makes an audible alarm. A key pad is added to the shelf to program, secure valuable books. Very simple and cheap, using arduino and a simple script. 2nd place

Redtooth - powered by Bluetooth, map a set of data and create an output. And it can distribute the computing power across mobile devices. The judges were extremely impressed with being able to use mobile devices to split data crunching.In an example he used two iPad's to split the computation he sent to them, automatically. 1st place

A Rover - rover using Rasberry PI and Arduino board. It can take pics. Recycled 3D printer prints to make the rover. Very neat and pretty cool in 24 hours!

 This is a great event that helps grow the young minds of our area and of our future. I am happy that this happens as often as it does and I truly thank the organizers for their hard work and determination! We have talent all around us here in WNY.